Influencer marketing has cemented its place as a valuable strategy within the digital marketing portfolio. It’s a proven way for businesses to promote their brands and products on social media. Influencers can be valuable allies in your mission to boost brand awareness, gain new followers, or even increase sales.
If you’ve employed other types of digital marketing, influencer marketing shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system. Influencer marketing relies on similar ideas, like campaign objectives, calls-to-action, and tracking results with the help of digital media analytics.
There are a few key differences though. These arise from the fact that instead of working with just your team members, you have to also coordinate with an external person– the influencer! That means new tasks come into play, like searching for influencers and analyzing their profiles before making your decision. Thankfully, AI makes this load a bit lighter.
This article will walk you through how you can take advantage of artificial intelligence when running an influencer marketing campaign. More specifically, we’ll answer:
- Why is Influencer Marketing Important Anyway?
- How Can AI Help My Brand Find the Right Influencers?
- What Can AI Reveal About an Influencer’s Profile?
Why is Influencer Marketing Important Anyway?
As companies big and small continue to find influencers to help promote their brands on social media, the industry has boomed. In fact, a recent study estimates that the industry is set to be worth up to $15 billion by the year 2022.
Why? Well, frankly, a lot of people spend a lot of time on social media. Instagram claims that it has 1 billion monthly active users. Youtube counts that people watch over 1 billion hours of video per day. And in 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide, according to a study by appfigures.
So basically, social media is a way to reach your target audience, whoever that may be. Influencers come into the mix as a way to widen the net, or perhaps to dig deeper into a niche community. Moreover, marketing through influencers seems more organic and authentic than doing so on your own social account.
How Can AI Help My Brand Find the Right Influencers?
In order to understand the full potential of AI in the influencer search process, it’s important that we compare it with another method of looking for influencers. It’s also necessary that we quickly run through what you need to do before you start searching.
What Do I Need To Do Before Searching?
There are a few things you must do before you start searching for influencers. These are all critical to your campaign’s success, so take the time to do this well.
Define your objectives. Before you start planning, know what you’re planning for. What do you hope to achieve? And what key performance indicators can help you measure your journey toward that goal? For example, if you want to drive traffic to your website, your KPIs may be site visits, links clicked, time spent on a certain page, etc.
Next, identify your target audience. Who do you want to direct your campaign at? Think about how old they are, where they come from, what language they speak and what they’re interested in.
Finally, decide what type of influencer you want to find. There are a few things to consider here, like:
- Influencer tier – how many followers do you want them to have? (e.g. micro influencer)
- Category – what do they post about? (e.g. fashion)
- Social network – where do they post?
- Geographical location – where are they based?
- Language – what’s the primary language they use on social media?
If you want to learn more about how to define your campaign, check out our influencer marketing guide. Then, once you establish these important factors, you can start searching for influencers.
Searching for Influencers Directly on a Social Network
You can search for influencers directly on the social networks where you want to run your campaign, but you won’t have the full support of AI. It’s true that you may enjoy some help from the social network’s suggestion algorithms. But you won’t be able to ask Instagram, for example, to show you all the fashion influencers in Mumbai who have over 10K followers.
If you do want to search directly on Instagram or Youtube, for example, try looking:
- Among the people who already follow you, or who comment on or like your posts
- In your brand mentions, for users who may have tagged your brand
- In the feeds for your branded hashtags or hashtags related to your industry
You may find influencers among these users. And if they’re already fans of your brand, they’re more likely to be interested in collaborations.
However, there’s a much more efficient way to find influencers. And this is where the power of AI really comes into the picture.
Searching for Influencers with an Influencer Marketing Platform
Remember that example we mentioned above? Imagine you want to find a fashion influencer based in Mumbai who has over 10K followers. Well, with an AI-powered influencer marketing platform, you can do just that.
Plug the parameters into the platform’s search filters, and you’ll be able to see all the influencers who match your criteria. The platform shows you analytics about each influencer’s profile, like number of followers, engagement rate, and more.
When you find some results that look promising, you can save them to a customizable list for easy access later. This will allow you to compare one influencer against another and make the final decisions with respect to who you want to collaborate with. You can also add statuses, comments and ratings for those influencers you end up working with.
That’s the basic way an influencer marketing platform works. But there’s still more to discuss. Keep reading to learn how the artificial intelligence behind these platforms can help you determine the success, or failure, of an influencer’s social profile.
What Can AI Reveal About an Influencer’s Profile?
It’s easy for influencers to falsify their social media profiles. Followers, likes, comments… just about everything can be bought to make a profile look more impressive than it actually is. Fortunately, AI can highlight irregularities in the data so that you can spot these fraudulent practices.
These are some of the metrics you should evaluate in order to see if an influencer has engaged in less than honest behavior.
Follower Growth Over Time
Don’t just look at the number of followers. Look at how an influencer achieved that number of followers. It takes time to grow a following organically. In fact, healthy follower growth should look like a steady climb up a gentle hill.
The growth in this chart is slow and steady, which suggests it is organic.
Spikes and falls in follower growth could be signs of purchased followers. In these cases, influencers usually buy a bunch of followers at once, which results in a sudden jump in their follower count. A spike could also show a recent giveaway or viral moment, but in absence of one of those, you may need to further examine an influencer’s audience to make sure they’re legitimate.
Engagement is the level of interaction between an influencer and their followers. Engagement rates vary depending on the social network; Instagram engagement and Youtube engagement, for example, aren’t the same.
It also varies depending on the number of followers an influencer has. AI is helpful here because it analyzes the averages of different follower ranges and compares an influencer against the applicable average.
@kanchannegi has high engagement compared to other Instagram influencers with between 15-50K followers.
Here, you need to look out for extreme engagement on either end of the chart. If an influencer has extremely low engagement, they may have purchased fake followers (who do not generally engage with the influencer’s content). If it is extremely high, they may have bought fake engagements (fake likes or comments).
Don’t just check into an influencer; check into their audience too. This is important for two reasons. One, it helps you make sure that a specific influencer can help you reach your target audience. Examine an audience’s age, gender, location, language and interests and make sure those demographics match up with your target.
Second, audience demographics can help you spot discrepancies that may be signs of fraudulent practices. For example, if a Mumbai-based fashion influencer has a large portion of their audience based in Russia and interested in cars, that disconnect may be a sign of bought followers.
Finally, AI can analyze influencers’ followers to see if they exhibit behavior that’s commonly found in bots. Bot accounts generally look suspicious, but it can be difficult and time-consuming to sift through all of an influencer’s followers manually.
To save time and effort, the AI in an influencer marketing platform analyzes this for you and makes a suggestion about the percentage of followers that may be bots. Obviously, you want to strive to find an influencer with a low percentage of suspicious followers, as you don’t want to waste your marketing budget on bots.
While human judgment is still needed to make the final decisions, artificial intelligence can really lighten the load when it comes to searching for influencers and analyzing their profiles. You can work much more efficiently if you let AI guide you in your influencer discovery process. And you can make more confident decisions knowing that you have the data to back you up.